March 5, 2010
University of Southern Indiana and New Harmony Theatres launch their third annual Repertory Project with William Shakespeare's Hamlet, directed by Lenny Leibowitz, artistic director of New Harmony Theatre and assistant professor of theatre at USI, and Henrik Ibsen's, A Doll's House, directed by Elliot Wasserman, chair of the Department of Performing Arts at USI. The plays run in rotating repertory from March 18 through April 4 at the Mallette Studio Theatre on the University of Southern Indiana campus. The cast includes veteran New York actors and USI students performing side by side.
According to Leibowitz, Hamlet is "a haunting ghost story, a bloody tale of revenge, and a perpetual puzzle." It's also his favorite play, and one he said he has longed to direct. "Hamlet - both play and character- remains the most seductive enigma in all of drama. I hope audiences will re-discover the boundless power, beauty, and mystery of the play that, more than any other, has captivated us through the generations," he said.
With its frank and controversial portrait of middle-class marriage, A Doll's House caused a scandal at its opening in 1879. The play is set at Christmastime, and Nora is happily engaged in holiday preparations for her family. But she has been keeping a terrible secret from her husband, and the arrival of a stranger on Christmas Eve threatens to ruin her apparent domestic bliss.
Letitia Lange and John Windsor-Cunningham, members of Actors Equity Association, will play major roles in both productions. Lange, a veteran of the celebrated Off-Broadway productions of Ibsen's The Master Builder, will play Nora in A Doll's House and Ophelia in Hamlet. Other credits include the national tour of Doubt, Marina in the Off-Broadway production of The Power of Darkness, and major regional theatre performances including Laura in The Glass Menagerie, Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, and Miranda in The Tempest. Windsor-Cunningham will play Dr. Rank in A Doll's House and Polonius in Hamlet. A veteran of many West End productions in London and regional theatre performances across the U.K., he arrived in the U.S. only recently. His Off-Broadway credits include productions of The Devil's Disciple and Prisoner of the Crown, among others.
The cast includes USI students Lydia Abell, Anachebe Asomugha, Kevin Bickwermert, Jeremy Brailsford, Jeff Dumond, Emily Durchholz, Brandon Eck, Becky Fortner, Zach Gent, Preston Harris-Dunlap, Emily Kirk, Tiffany Lee, Paul Mindrup, Tawni Morningstar, Craig Patterson, Jessica Reecer, Jasmine Ruckriegel, Kyle Rupert, Rachel Schenk, Josh Smith, and Meredith Woodard.
In addition to Wasserman and Leibowitz, the artistic team for A Doll's House and Hamlet includes USI Department of Performing Arts faculty members Robert Broadfoot (scenic designer), Craig A. Young (lighting designer), and Shan Jensen (costume designer).